Monday, 30 October 2017

Brownsea Island :: 27 October 2017

It has been two years since we last visited Brownsea Island and it was going to be a hard act to follow - then we were spoilt with achingly good views of red squirrel and some photos that did them justice - we were under no illusions that the same would happen again. As it turned out, we did see a couple of red squirrels but somehow not in the same displays as before. The day wasn’t all about the squirrels this time!

We set out on the 10.00am ferry and arrived on the island in glorious sunshine. It was to be set fair for the whole day. As we landed we looked out over the lagoon and it appeared that the water was further out somehow and the birds more distant. A small group of redshank fed within range of our bins but most birds were really quite distant. We could see avocet, black-tailed godwit, teal, cormorant and little egret.

Off we set towards the Low Hide. Looking out we could see how low the water actually was, and again how distant the birds were. After a short while we moved on to the Mac hide, hoping to catch sight of some spoonbills.

SpoonbillFrom the Mac Hide we could see a group of about 20 large white birds and initially assumed that these may be the spoonbills; in fat they were all little egret. With a few more scattered across the lagoon, it is probably the largest congregation of little egrets that I’ve seen. We wee pointed to some reeds to the left of the hide where a female kingfisher was resting, and had been for a good five minutes. Tried some photos but it was really too distant for anything other than a record shot. A small flock of meadow pipit passed by one of the closer islands, one resting on top of some chicken wire, protecting the tern nesting site from predation.

We set off again, headed for the Villa. Last time we were here there were only coal tits visiting the Kingfisherfeeding station but this time they were joined by great and blue tits and chaffinch. On nearby trees we had siskin, redpoll and goldcrest [#166]. Having not seen any goldcrest this year I then went on to see more on three separate occasions as we circled the Dorset Wildlife Trust trails. Buzzard circled overhead as we turned to head for lunch.

ShagAfter lunch we headed back to the Mac Hide to see if any spoonbills had been pushed back to the lagoon by the rising tide. To our delight three spoonbills [#167] had turned up, but other than preening, the had their bills under their wings and perched on one leg. Talking to one of the volunteers, they reported that two little stint had been feeding on the small islands on the scrape just ten minutes before but had headed left - I scanned the area and could see possible candidate birds but without a scope it wasn't possible to confirm a sighting - on return home though I had photos to crop and could see the little stint [#168] dwarfed by dunlin and larger species. We had another, better sighting of the kingfisher as it landed and fished from some nearby poles.

Time for picking up Eilidh we headed back to catch the ferry back to Sandbanks, seeing shag as we left.

Sightings today (40) included: avocet, black-headed gull, black-tailed godwit, blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, cormorant, curlew, dunlin, goldcrest, goldfinch, great black-backed gull, great tit, greenshank, grey heron, herring gull, hooded crow, jackdaw, kingfisher, lesser black-backed gull, little egret, little stint, long-tailed tit, meadow pipit, nuthatch, oystercatcher, redshank, robin, shag, shelduck, siskin, sparrowhawk, spoonbill, teal, wigeon, woodpigeon and wren.

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